What’s Marco Rubio up to these days? Who cares? Half a year has passed and I’m only concerned with three things about him. . . and all of them have to do with optics.
Were these ever fair attacks on a somewhat pleasant, if pathologically ineffective, senator from a very large, and very important, state? Probably not. But they tell us a great deal not just about where we are as a country, but where we’re going, why, and what it means for those of us who, well, you know. . . like a little heel with our toe. If you know what I mean.
The politics of personal appearance have always been a part of our national discourse. We’re still obsessed with Barack’s optics long after he’s left the presidency. Bush 41’s socks told us something about him that was otherwise ineffable.
“Obama’s opponent in , Mitt Romney, like David Cameron in Britain, has a stiff posture and muted body language that makes him appear arrogant and posh. But Romney’s facial appearance works in his favour: he has a solid square chin and, as one political columnist put it, “chiselled-out-of-granite” features that radiate vigour and a sense of seriousness. This makes Romney, in this regard, a far more formidable opponent than McCain.”
Is the scourge of Little Marco little more than his height—which, while still above average, is a little shy of presidential? Or is it that in times of national strife, voters simply value the utilitarianism, and relatability, of a president who, generally speaking, doesn’t actually give a fuck how he dresses?
No one can say, though, that President Trump doesn’t care how he appears. After all, this is our first truly multimedia president—from his amazing cameos in endless films and television shows, to how he produced a highly successful reality show, to knowing, simply and directly, what his audience was looking for in their spectacles.
Is there anything wrong with this? The postmodern presidency, as we’ve learned, is—after all—about how one appears. Yes, it’s unfair. It might even be discriminatory for all we know. But it’s also why Marco Rubio will never be president. And can’t we just be happy for once?